Walk on the Riverwalk, March 19, 2022, Part 2

I’m hearing somebody doing I don’t know kind of cheer or something up ahead. They sound very excited, for whatever that’s worth. I hope I’m not walking into a riot or something. I guess we’ll figure out what it is when I get there.

I am passing yet another dam. This is the H.H. Hugman Dam and it used to mark the end of the Riverwalk. When they decided to make the Riverwalk go through from here, they cut a chunk out of the dam to make room for the boats to pass through.

The yelling from before has turned into music which is less concerning than the yelling was. That’s a good sign.

Once upon a time, there was a performance venue called the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium. The building was gorgeous. The actual performance area was . . . okay. Thomas and I saw Phantom of the Opera there in the 90s. In the early 2000s, the city decided that it needed a more state-of-the-art venue and so they razed all but the facade of the auditorium and built two new theaters onto the back. They named the building the Tobin Center, for Robert L.B. Tobin. The new building is this big metal box with lights on the outside and it’s pretty impressive at night. At the side of the building is an outdoor performance venue named for Will Naylor Smith. That seems to be where the music is coming from.. Let’s go closer and find out.

It seemed like I missed whatever it was because people are walking away carrying folding chairs. Maybe there is a sign indicating what it was.

I take that back. It looks like whatever it is it still going on. This is apparently some kind of St. Patrick’s Day event. The performance I was hearing was a punk band called Pinata Protest. That certainly explains the yelling.

It looks like there’s a parade on the River. Or maybe the parade is breaking up. I’ll have to look that up when I get home. I’m thinking that “I have to look that up when I get home” is the theme of this little experiment.

On my right now is the Southwest School of Art, which recently merged with… UTSA? Let’s all say it together. I’ll look it up when I get home. The site for the Southwest School of Art originally was the Ursuline Convent and Academy which was a Catholic girls’ school that was run by French nuns. French nuns formed a lot of San Antonio’s culture. We have the Ursuline Academy here and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word founded the University of the Incarnate Word, Incarnate Word High School, and Santa Rosa Hospital.

This land here was the far north of San Antonio when the buildings were constructed for the school. As a result, they didn’t bother putting a fourth face on the clock on top of the building. If you were east, south, or west of the building, you could tell what time it is. If you were north, you were out of luck.

I’ve just arrived downtown and there’s this pergola thing that wasn’t there before on the other side of the river. I’m so glad I’m getting my knockoff GoPro soon. I’ll have to come back later and explore that area.

You you you you you ← I’m not sure what happened there. It’s so weird, though, that I decided to keep it.

I’m passing past another mosaic. This one is by Oscar Alvarado from 2002 and is of a bunch of famous buildings in the city and, for some reason, a dog. The buildings include the Tower of the Americas, the Tower Life Building, San Fernando Cathedral, and the Alamo. I’m trying to figure the dog out, but having no luck.

Mosaic, Riverwalk, by Oscar Alvarado, 2002

I’m almost to the place where I am going to turn around. I’m passing the Embassy Suites Hotel on my right. He hotel has a waterfall on the Riverwalk level and people are taking pictures in front it.

On my left there is a building that I used to know the name of. The name was basically the address “(number) Houston Street.” God only knows what that number is. I sure don’t.* There was some excitement about this building when they were constructing it. There was a movie palace called Texas Theatre that was on this site and they were going to take it down for the new building. The Conservation Society was trying to stop the building going up the injunction they needed came down when all that was left of the theater was the façade so the architects and engineers included the facade of the Texas Theatre in the front of the building.**

I’m under Houston Street now which is technically where I should turn around, but there have been parade floats coming up the river as I was walking down and I can see more coming, so I may just keep walking.

I’m on my back north. I stopped to watch the floats. There weren’t that many left.*** I went up to the surface and took some pictures of the IBC Center and the Hotel Valencia and then came back down.

*The number I was thinking of was 175 E. Houston and the name of the building is the IBC Center.

**At least, that’s the story. In order for that to be strictly true, though, they would have to have torn the Texas Theater down back-to-front and what are the odds? I wonder if either (a) the architects always intended to include the facade, or (b) they suspected that the Conservation Society would get their injunction, so they left the most attractive part for last. Now I think I’m going to have to take some time and research that.

***After I got back to the lock and dam, I found that the floats were gathering there, and then on my walk back to the Pearl, I saw people sitting down along the Riverwalk. I guess that the floats I saw were on their way to regroup for an evening parade farther north. I was running out of water, though, so I just headed back home. After all, I’d already seen the floats.

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